Universal Design and Visual Literacy

As I read through the chapters on universal design and visual literacy, I couldn’t stop thinking about where I see images that follow these principals.  Usability and accessibility to all is an important principal to follow.  Lohr explains that the “goals of universal design focus on making information and learning accessible in the broader sphere of life for all people (Lohr, 2008, p8).” So as a designer, it is important to think of who your audience is and what their various background might be.  

Crosswalk - imageswalk-dont

I chose a safety image because I feel like these images must be universal to all languages and educational backgrounds.  I chose to provide both of these walk, do not walk signs as examples.  The image on the left utilizes images and no words to express when it is time to cross the street.  These images are efficient and simple in design.  Lohr discusses how efficiency vs. appeal apply to universal design.  If instructional goals (like crossing a street) are the goal of the image than it is important to maintain simplicity and efficiency (Lohr, 2008, p51.  The design on the left shows symbols that should be universal to all backgrounds, in addition they are very simple, allowing the user quick response time (which is a necessity when crossing the street).

What also struck me during my reading, was the question “are pictures worth a thousand words?”.  While the image on the left contains no writing, I believe it does help the user understand the goal (Lohr, 2008, p51).  The image on the right, which is also often used at cross walks, uses the English language instead.  While this sign is simple in design, it is not universal to all languages or educational backgrounds.  In many cases, words help make an image more understandable, however, images such as the hand or the man walking apply to more users.  
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Burgstahler, S., Dr. (2015). Universal Design of Instruction (UDI): Definition, Principles, Guidelines, and Examples. Retrieved from http://www.washington.edu/doit/universal-design-instruction-udi-definition-principles-guidelines-and-examples